By Lauren Benton
A look for Sovereignty maps a brand new method of international background by way of interpreting the relation of legislation and geography in eu empires among 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial house as networks of corridors and enclaves, and they developed sovereignty in ways in which merged rules approximately geography and legislations. Conflicts over treason, piracy, convict transportation, martial legislations, and crime created abnormal areas of legislations, whereas additionally attaching felony meanings to regular geographic different types comparable to rivers, oceans, islands, and mountains. The ensuing felony and spatial anomalies encouraged debates approximately imperial constitutions and foreign legislation either within the colonies and at domestic. This unique examine alterations our figuring out of empire and its legacies and opens new views at the worldwide background of legislations.
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A look for Sovereignty maps a brand new method of international historical past by way of studying the relation of legislations and geography in ecu empires among 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial house as networks of corridors and enclaves, and they developed sovereignty in ways in which merged principles approximately geography and legislation.
Extra resources for A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900
As with singular geographies, legal anomalies urged new ways of arranging knowledge precisely because they appeared to defy categorization. Some colonial officials themselves used the word “anomalous” to describe places for which they could not easily define structures of law or the nature of sovereignty. Scholars in Europe, including Alberico Gentili, Hugo Grotius, Jeremy Bentham, and Henry Sumner Maine, took up this challenge in responding 85 86 Recent analyses of Calvin’s Case caution that it should not be read as a blueprint for subsequent imperial legal policy.
In contrast to the rationalization of space through progressively accurate mapping, this project emphasized a set of repeating geographic features and, within this grammar, attention to distinctive qualities, the oddities or singularities of the specific case. Rather than producing the image of blank territories that could be known and dominated, this parallel process insisted that some parts of the world, and even integral parts of empire, might resist categorization or control. 40 Accounts of voyages took the form of tours, purposeful blends of individual, eyewitness testimony, political reporting, 39 40 Paul Carter, The Road to Botany Bay: An Essay in Spatial History (London: Faber and Faber, 1987), 31, 15.
The importance of this condition is not that it somehow diminished the value of mapping but that it made the relation between imperial order and geographic information inherently unstable. Also obvious and important as a response to the coupling of empire and the rationalization of space is the critique that the formulation is Eurocentric. The history of mapping global empire between 1400 and 1900 is one that privileges classical influences on European cartography and advances made possible by Western technological change.
A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900 by Lauren Benton